I continue my discussion regarding the need for Incubator companies to receive assistance in their initial customer acquisition phase. I push Rene a fair bit. I think he is getting slightly annoyed and defensive 🙂
SM: If you go back to the beginnings of Salesforce.com, and you ask Mark Benioff, I am sure he will tell you he built his business by proactive pitching; he had to build his business with outbound telemarketing. That is the point I am pushing you on. RB: Nobody gave Mark the list to go after. He found the list on his own, just like our incubators. We have a lot of support for them when they do that.
SM: Just for the sake of an intellectual discussion, and I hope you don’t mind this, I don’t think it is necessarily a bad thing to give them the list. They still have to convince people of their value proposition and they have to compete with the rest of the offerings from the market. If you want to make them successful, why not give them the list? RB: Because I am not trying to favor one company. My plan is not to make 20 companies successful, I have to make 300 or more successful. I have to make sure my customers drive more than my partners. We can easily be in a situation where we have 300 or 500 partners email and call these people to death with their value propositions.
SM: Sure, you have to be selective. I think your real motivating factor is that you want them to find new customers that Salesforce is not already in. RB: That is a great discussion. Not only do I want them to do well, I want them to grow the pie for me even more.
SM: Exactly right. It is a different motivation driving you when it comes to spoon feeding versus non-spoon feeding. There are many different ways of restricting which list you give to whom, but I think the real motivating factor from where I sit, based on what I have heard you say so far, is that you really want them to go out and get new customers that you do not already have. RB: Not necessarily. We have a lot of space in our existing customer base for all kinds of applications that our customers do not have. The propensity to buy an application which is built in the Salesforce way is high among customers who already own Salesforce technology. There is definitely motivation for them to build additional applications that work very well with Salesforce or work like Salesforce. Of course there is also a very big, open market, 32,000 organizations around the world use Salesforce. That means there are lots of organizations who do not.